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5 Rules All Great Blog Post Titles Follow


Blog posts add immeasurable (OK, actually very measurable) value to your company’s website. And although the content you choose to write about is crucial, there is another element that sometimes gets overlooked.

We’re talking about blog post titles.

Creating great blog post titles can do wonders for your blog, and it’s one of the deciding factors for whether or not someone chooses to invest their time into it. There are many tips and tricks for creating blog post title ideas, and you won’t need a blog post title generator to assist you. (Although those do exist.)

5 Tips for Creating Great Blog Post Titles

Here are 5 tips for creating great blog post titles:

  1. Engage the reader
  2. Don’t mislead your audience
  3. Keep it short
  4. Look at past success
  5. Include a keyword

1. Engage the Reader

If your blog post title fails to stick out and engage your audience, you may lose readers before they even begin. A good blog post title should be intriguing or actionable (or both), and provide the reader with a sense that they have something to gain.

‘How-to’ topics provide great title opportunities; they match well with the way people search for information online today. How-to headlines are perfect for showing your audience that by clicking your search result, they’ll get actionable information.

Power words are also great for blog post titles. They tend to be actionable and give your blog a more “human” factor. For example:

  • JUST OK: “Smart Design Shortcuts That Will Save You a Lot of Money”

This blog post title is boring and doesn’t invoke any sort of response from readers. However, with a small tweak of wording, you can make this blog post title pop:

  • MUCH BETTER: “5 Genius Design Shortcuts to Keep the Boss Happy & His Wallet Heavy”

This second title is much more intriguing and is more likely to peak the interest of your target audience. Why? For starters, studies show that numbered or “listicle”-style headlines attract eyeballs. Secondly, it plays to the reader’s emotion -- who doesn’t want to save money and keep the boss happy?

There are many other ways to engage your reader, but one we’ll specifically call out is the tried-and-true question-based title. By asking a question in your title, you can speak directly to the reader, as seen here:

  • JUST OK: "Benefits of American Metal Manufacturing"
  • MUCH BETTER: "Is Offshoring Your Metal Manufacturing Selling Your Operations Short?"

2. Don’t Mislead Your Audience

Because your blog post title precedes the article itself, be sure it doesn’t mislead your buyer persona. By this, we mean that your blog post title needs to be descriptive and provide insight into the content itself.

Not only does this help you avoid angry readers who will dub your blog as “clickbait,” but it helps you in search results as well. Think about this:

Books and magazines provide readers with captions, images, and everything else that lures them into reading it. This provides readers with the chance to fully investigate the content before making the decision to engage.

With blogs, you don’t get that luxury. Your blog post title will show up in a search result with very little additional information. This makes it crucial that your blog post title is descriptive and informs your audience what to expect when reading it. While attracting 30% more traffic with a sketchy title sounds great in practice, what’s the point if you’re bringing a bunch of useless, irrelevant traffic and leads to your sales team?

3. Keep It Short

Google search results generally have a display limit of 70 characters per title. Actually, many of today’s browsers and devices will only show 60 or less. And while your blog post title can technically be longer than that (Google will just cut if off with an ellipsis), it’s best to keep it under that mark so that it can be displayed in all its glory.

That’s not to say that it's bad practice to have a long blog post title. In fact, some topics often require that extra title length to capture that blend of audience engagement with setting expectations.

A good rule of thumb is to try and keep your title to 10 words or less. This is usually enough to define the content while incorporating your main keyword.

4. Look at Past Success

You should never simply copy and paste someone else’s blog post title onto yours. However, it never hurts to build off their ideas.great-blog-post-titles-past-success

Looking at past blog success rates, whether a competitor’s or your own, indicates which formats and topics your audience likes the most. Look at your top traffic-getters. They are usually a good sign that the title was intriguing enough to encourage readers to click on them.

Just be careful not to get tunnel vision here. Although it can be helpful to look at your competitor’s blog post titles to develop ideas of your own, you should make sure they still fit your audience’s specific pain points and interests.

5. Include a Keyword

Similar to any other writing you do for a target audience, your title should account for searcher intent. This means that you should aim to include at least one keyword into your title -- one your ideal customer would use when researching the topic.

Be careful not to overstuff your title with keywords. You don’t want the title to sound unnatural or forced.

The keyword that you include should help you rank for searches that would lead to your blog.

Want to Know More?

Learning how to perfect your blog post titles is key for any content marketing strategy. And by doing so you’ll attract more readers to your site and grow your online leads organically.

Next time you’re creating a blog post title for your post, don’t forget these tips:

  • Engage the reader
  • Don’t mislead your audience
  • Keep it short
  • Look at past success
  • Include a keyword

If you want to learn more about developing an effective content strategy, take a look at our free e-book of content marketing essentials:

content marketing essentials guide download